Business is running on the Internet these days. Even minor enterprises have already armed themselves with a website and social network accounts. According to the recent statistics, more than 71 % of small businesses in the USA have a website, and 92% of those who do not have one are going to get this essential element of online presence by the end of 2018.
Do these numbers mean that you should put your offline retail store aside and focus on creating an online store? Don’t be in a hurry. Pay attention to the following criteria that signal whether you are ready to dive into e-commerce or not.
You use CRM
Great customer relationship management system (CRM) ensures a good e-commerce start. It provides you with an excellent background for interacting with your customers via the Internet. Thanks to CRM, you get the opportunity of managing lots of data. That’s exactly what you have to do if you launch your online shop. CRM provides you with comprehensive and systematized information about your customers: contacts, billing preferences, and purchases. This information is targeting served on a silver platter. CRM is also a great channel for advertising your new web resource.
You use ERP
ERP system allows collecting, storing and managing company’s data from all business activities. Alongside with CRM, ERP is a great base for building a strong online presence. The only thing you should take care of is integrating ERP with your e-commerce website. You can use platforms like Magento or Sitecore that provide free integrations with ERP systems. In any case, you will have to turn to professionals specializing in business web applications. An experienced software development team will help you integrate your ERP system with your e-commerce solution.
You allocate sufficient budget
Surely, a transition to e-commerce will be costly. Bear in mind that building an online shop is a far more complex task than creating a simple informative company’s website. Make sure your project budget is ready for considerable expenditures. You can use off-the-shelf e-commerce solutions and tools to create an online shopping website that works. But if you want more conversions, you need to put extra efforts and resources into your online shop. Business analysts will help you calculate the software development cost and other expenses.
You’ve got smooth customer support
Success in e-commerce field goes hand in hand with smooth and on-time customer support. A surge in clients means more goods to store and ship. If you expect a successful launch of you shopping website, you should be ready to ship and deliver more orders than you used to. Your employees from support service will have to apply resource-consuming efforts to ensure customer support by managing and monitoring the larger number of shipments. It won’t be a problem if your company has experience of shipping a bulk of goods and coordinating comprehensive delivery services.
Your brand stands out
A strong brand allows you to build a better online presence. So, before launching your online store, take care of your company’s image first. Help your customers get to know your brand’s philosophy, what your company stands for, and what gives your products or services a competitive edge. You need something up your sleeve to stand out, as far as there are more than 100.000 online stores in the USA alone. An established brand is an ace in the hole when you are new to e-commerce. So, it really makes sense to invest in an advertising campaign.
You are well-versed in social networks
Numerous followers on social networks mean a lot. It’s a great advantage that will help you successfully launch your first online store. A social networks presence shows that your clients are already engaged via the Internet, and it will be much easier to reach out to them with your new web store.
On a final note
E-commerce is a great opportunity to expand your business. But it’s not a wise step to immediately give everything up and focus on launching an online shop without preparations. Hold off for a bit. Such criteria as ERP and CRM usage, flexible budget, and well-managed customer support are the indicators showing that your business is ready to go online. If you haven’t yet earned some of these points, don’t try to rush ahead of yourself. Thoroughly prepare your company for the transition from offline to online. Turn to software development specialists who can help you analyze your case, provide assistance in creating reliable CRM and ERP systems, and help you put all the pieces of puzzle together to make your business e-commerce ready.
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